How could you not love someone who lives by this motto and whose favorite colors are Rainbow, Sparkle and Shine, Animalia, Flower, Travel and Print? This is precisely why fashionista, stylist, globetrotter, and icon Giovanna Battaglia Engelbert has such an incredilbly loyal and growing following. Her joie de vivre and fearless fashion choices exemplify her refreshing attitude of not taking herself too seriously and savoring every moment. Giovanna took NYC by storm this week revealing her incredible windows at Bergdorf Goodman along with her book debut and pop up shop. These may be the best Bergdorf windows yet! Her book Gio_Graphy chronicles her fun in the wild world of fashion. The pop-up shop includes her collaborations brilliantly curated mix of new and established Italian designers with some of her own creations.
When you enter the world of Stephen Wilson’s studio, it is like stepping into a contemporary art factory. The tools he uses to create his intricate works are perfect merger of technology and his creativity. he says that “The medium is the message.” He uses fabric, thread, sculptural 3D printing, laser engraving, and painting to create his unique pieces. Each line and element is created with thread on top of luxurious fabrics. Some of his pieces contain millions of embroidery stitches and take hundreds of hours to create. Fashion influence is prevalent in his pieces. The fabrics used include Hermès silk, Chanel wool, fabrics by Marc Jacobs, Oscar De La Renta, Vera Wang, Ralph Lauren, Versace, Dolce & Gabanna, and Brunello Cucinelli. He is influenced by contemporary art, pop art, street art, graffiti, and iconography, as well as traditional quilting and handicrafts.
One of favorite visits during Milan Design Week was the showroom of La Double J, founded by fashion and design editor, stylist, and journalist JJ Martin in 2015. Before we arrived, Instagram was buzzing with her newly launched tabletop collection in addition to her amazing vintage finds and sought after La Double J Editions clothing line. Known as a creative force, JJ has perfectly merged the worlds of fashion and design with her collections. The new clothing made from vintage prints debuted with 8 historic prints hand-picked from Mantero Seta, a 114 year old silk manufacturer on Lake Como who created silks for Chanel. The line has blossomed into 25 vintage patterns offered in a limited edition program that drops new models and prints every two months.
I was delighted to be interviewed for this feature for QC Exclusive focusing on my love of art and how it is the starting point for all of my interiors. Thanks to the writers and editors for this lovely opportunity to share my philosophy on merging art and design…
I was delighted to participate in my first High Point Market Design Bloggers Tour this fall. In addition to getting in depth tours at a variety of showrooms, it was also wonderful to experience market through the lens of so many talented design friends. As usual, I returned home with no voice and blistered feet, but full of new sources for clients and inspiration for future projects. One of the many highlights was a visit to the iconic Thayer Coggin showroom. After back to back meetings, it can be a challenge to keep the attention of a group of designers…As soon as we entered the doors, we knew we were in for a special treat.
I have been saving the best chapter of our Moroccan fairy tale for last….our magnificent and magical visit to the Moroccan desert. Overwhelmed with choices on where to book our sunset dinner and camel ride, I looked to the amazing concierge at La Mamounia who provided the perfect destination…La Pause.
Located just 20 miles outside of Marrakech, in what the ancients called “Desert Marrakchi,” La Pause is set on a hill amongst a cool oasis bordered by a river with breahtaking views across the Moroccan wilderness. Designed to be a place where guests “pause” and take in the supernatural surrounding beauty, our group felt an overwhelming sense of fulfillment to be able to experience this paradise. We planned our desert excursion to take place mid week which serendipitously landed on “Hump Day.”
After five days in Morocco, all of our expectations had been exceeded and every unique experience we had seemed to be even better than the one before. Taking a “pause” in the middle of the trip to reflect on what we had seen and anticipate what lied ahead made the rest of our trip even sweeter. Tears of joy were shed riding the camels at sunset and tears of gratitude were shed as we dined by candlelight in a Berber tent with a zillion stars overhead.
Looking back on the trip, it was certainly a “pause” for all of us from our everyday lives. Taking a break from our routine allowed us to fully soak in the Moroccan inspiration, stimulate our creative juices, and in the future apply what we learned to our respective design practices. Even more so, the magic and graciousness of the Moroccan people affected us in a deeply spiritual way. The call to prayer five times a day and ending almost every sentence in “Ench Allah” or “God Willing” was a constant reminder to give ourselves up to a higher being. I think this will be the most poignant lesson from our pilgrimage….to pause and allow time in each day express gratitude, give thanks, and approach every thought and action with “God Willing.”
More about La Pause below…
Located on an oasis amid the reddish Agafay Desert, La Pause was born when eccentric French fortysomething Frédéric Alaime came horse-riding by over a decade ago. Alaime liked the spot so much that he immediately leased it from the resident Berber farmer; the modern-day result is a rustic eco-resort with activities aplenty and a pool, but no electricity and scarcely any mobile reception. Instead, snoozing, stargazing and staring into space are the order of the day.
Framed by olive trees and colorful hammocks, the filtered pool borders an organic garden which contributes rocket, alfalfa, grapes and olive oil to the resort’s delicious Berber cuisine.
Meals can be taken alfresco on terraces, or cross-legged on cushions inside tents where Gnaoua musicians play. A small massage-offering hammam and quirky boutique provide additional distraction.
Built using beautiful thick pisé (traditional mud-and-straw), La Pause’s stark, stylish lodges are atmospherically illuminated by candles and oil lamps. Each has a huge bed, a strong shower, low sofas, rugs and cushions, plus fireplaces and a patio sun-lounger for morning mint teas. Alternatively, ‘glamp’ in a spacious Bedouin tent with foam mattresses and open-air showers.
The list of available activities includes quad-bike rides, horse treks, mountain-biking, guided camel rides, cooking classes and calligraphy lessons. There’s also a short ‘cross-country’ golf course, designed into the desert and more akin to crazy golf.
The Charlotte art scene is abuzz with several incredible exhibitions at the museums and galleries this fall. One of the most highly anticipated shows brings together three of my favorite themes…fashion, interiors, and photography. SOCO Gallery will be hosting “Around That Time: Horst at Home in Vogue.” Produced by Ivan Shaw and edited by Hamish Bowles, the publication is the world premiere of available photographs from Vogue’s archives of images by legendary photographer Horst P. Horst. A selection of limited edition prints from the monograph will be made for SOCO Gallery. The rare color photographs show a glimpse into the aristocratic world caught on film by Horst in which he turned lifestyle journalism into a modern art form.
Horst P. Horst (German/American, 1906-1999) originally wanted to be an architect. He arrived in Paris in 1930 to study architecture with Le Corbusier. A serendipitous meeting with Vogue photographer George Hoyningen-Huene changed his focus from architecture to photography. His passion for design is evident in his work from his use of composition, play of light and dark, and incorporating interiors into his work.
“The 100-plus Vogue features the photographer shot between 1963 and 1988 were style documentaries, each starring an international personality in his or her natural habitat and with precious little interference. “Horst didn’t move a single chair or bring in extra flowers,” says Gloria Vanderbilt, whose New York City bedroom, all patchwork quilts paneling the walls and fabric scraps glued to the parquet, was immortalized in 1970. “He showed how we really lived.” –Architectural Digest, September, 2016
SOCO describes the new monograph, “as a tribute to the landmark, Vogue’s Book of Houses, Gardens, People (1968), which chronicled important moments in Vogue’s history and in the international high society at large. From his renown as a leading fashion photographer of his time and the support of iconic Vogue Editor Diana Vreeland, Horst P. Horst developed and intense interest in seeing the world’s great homes, whose owners included Yves St. Laurent, Doris Duke, Emilio Pucci, Cy Twombly, and Marella Agnelli, among other royalty, celebrities and diplomats. The photographs captured by Horst P. Horst suspend the essence of society, politics, and art in the mid-20th century and represent a true “who’s who” of the day.”
Each work comes in both 16″ x 16″ size, as well as 36″ x 36″. For more information about the exhibition, or to pre-order a book, click here. The opening reception and book signing is Wednesday, October 12th from 6:00-8:00PM at SOCO Gallery located at 421 Providence Road.
Finally, to learn the story behind SOCO Gallery, watch below…
Please join me one week from today to kick off the inaugural Fall Design Week featuring Atlanta Gourmet and Gift at AmericasMart in Atlanta! I am thrilled to be moderating a panel with today’s top taste makers, designers, and stylists who will be sharing their secrets on entertaining with style.
Foodie culture and entertaining have risen to an art form. Weekend warriors are effortlessly whipping up gourmet spreads, swoon-worthy scenes and decorative tablescapes to fill our Instagram feeds. So, what’s the secret sauce? Take a cue from Bunny Williams’ playbook, who believes there’s nothing more rewarding than having friends and family gather in your home, and makes entertaining seem effortless. Top interior designers, lifestyle experts and photo stylists dish out advice you need to know to be a masterful host—from setting the right environment, designing the menu and table, and even offer styling tips to capture the moment for social media. Learn some of their favorite go-to resources and advice on everything entertaining, dining and tabletop.
Enjoy lunch and a panel discussion with New York-based interior designer Young Huh, who’s work has been featured in Vogue, Wall Street Journal, In Style and countless national interior magazines, Audrey Margarite, vice president of design and product development for Bunny Williams Home, who helps create fabrics, decorative accessories, and furniture for the company’s private and licensed collections, Annette Joseph, author of Picture Perfect Parties and entertaining expert, editor, producer, and magazine photo stylist for Architectural Digest, The Today Show, Goop and others, and designer and lifestyle expert Danielle Rollins, author of Soiree Entertaining with Style.
The inaugural Fall Design Week Featuring Atlanta Gourmet & Gift will offer hundreds of showrooms and lines, designer-focused programming, CEU courses, networking, parties and more:
I am battling the Monday blues by studying more Marrakech history. One of our first stops on our trip will be Le Jardin Marjorelle. These famous gardens were started by the painter Jacques Marjorelle in 1937, opened to the public in 1947, and eventually purchased by Yves St. Laurent and Pierre Berge in 1980.
Jacques Marjorelle was a French orientalist painter and the son of the famous Art Nouveau furniture designer Louis Marjorelle. He fell in love with Marrakech and purchased a palm grove in 1923 which is now Le Jardin Marjorelle.
As Marjorelle travelled the world, the artist would bring back specimens to add to his garden including hundreds of rare varieties of trees and plants that included: cacti, palm trees, bamboo, coconut palms, thujas, weeping willows, carob trees, jasmine, agaves, white water lilies, datura, cypress, bougainvilleas, and ferns. He laid out the gardens in the same way he would arrange the composition of a painting playing with light and shadow and introducing bold color through painted walls and pottery.
He began introducing color by painting the facade of his studio, and then gates, pergolas, pots and the various buildings in a scheme of bold and brilliant primary colors. His favorite shade was, an ultramarine, cobalt blue, “evoking Africa” which came to be known as “Marjorelle Blue”. This intense blue accentuated the various shades of green found throughout the garden.
In 1931, he commissioned the architect, Paul Sinoir, to design a Cubist villa for him, constructed near his first house. His workshop, where he would paint his large decorations, was located on the ground floor, and he established a studio on the first floor where he spent much of his time. Balconies and an Arab-inspired pergola were added to the construction in 1933.
Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé discovered the Jardin Majorelle in 1966, during their first stay in Marrakech.
“We quickly became very familiar with this garden, and went there every day. It was open to the public yet almost empty. We were seduced by this oasis where colours used by Matisse were mixed with those of nature… And when we heard that the garden was to be sold and replaced by a hotel, we did everything we could to stop that project from happening. This is how we eventually became owners of the garden and of the villa. And we have brought life back to the garden through the years.” – Pierre Bergé Yves Saint Laurent, “Une passion marocaine” Éditions de la Martinière, 2010
In 1980, Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé bought the Jardin Majorelle, saving it from real estate developers. The new owners decided to live in the Villa Bou Saf Saf, which they renamed Villa Oasis, and undertook the restoration of the garden in order to “make the Jardin Majorelle become the most beautiful garden – by respecting the vision of Jacques Majorelle.”
The painter’s studio has been transformed into a museum open to the public, dedicated to Berber culture, housing the personal Berber collection of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé.
Yves Saint Laurent would say he was able to find an unlimited source of inspiration in the Jardin Majorelle, and that he dreamt many times about its unique colours.
Yves St. Laurent dies in 2008 in Paris. His ashes were scattered in the rose garden of the Villa Oasis; a memorial was built in the garden, designed around a Roman pillar which was brought from Tangier and set on a pedestal with a plate bearing his name, so that visitors can remember him and his unique contribution to fashion. “It is a way for artists to live on… ” After Yves died, I donated the Jardin Majorelle and the Villa Oasis to the foundation in Paris which bears both our names.” – Pierre Bergé, Yves Saint Laurent, Une passion marocaine, Éditions de la Martinière, 2010
The Atlanta Botanical Gardens celebrates its 40th anniversary this year with an encore exhibition of the works of internationally acclaimed artist, Dale Chihuly. The American artist has mastered the “alluring, translucent and transparent qualities of ice, water, glass and neon to create works of art that transform the viewer experience. He is globally renowned for his ambitious site-specific architectural installations in public spaces and in exhibitions presented in more than 250 museums and gardens worldwide.” Since his blockbuster show here in 2004, the gardens have doubled in size.
Chihuly in the Garden includes 19 installation sites all set among the Garden’s natural beauty. The artist worked with the Garden’s horticultural team to choose plant color schemes. His studio shipped six 53 foot containers delivering thousands of pieces to be assembled on site by his team of eleven over a two week period.“You have to imagine the engineering it takes to bring this in and install it without damage,” said Britt Cornett, Chihuly’s installation manager.Chihuly’s team manages to transport new installations with an “unbelievably low breakage rate,” she said.
Some of the exhibits are a mix of older works paired with entirely new designs. There are also installations created specifically for the Atlanta Botanical Garden exhibit, including Fern Dell Paintbrushes near the Southern Season Garden and Indigo Blue Icicle Tower near the Hardin Visitor Center.
“I think there’s a quality to Dale’s exhibitions that you don’t see in a lot of art,” ABG CEO and President Mary Pat Matheson said, attempting to explain the public’s attraction to it. “It’s almost magnetizing. It’s charismatic. It’s spectacularly beautiful, particularly in an outdoor setting. He understands scale and color and the juxtaposition of glass and nature in a way that few artists do.”
The exhibit opened on April 30th and runs through Oct. 30th. Chihuly’s first exhibit at the Atlanta Botanical Garden in 2004 was the third time he’d done a garden installation. The 2004 exhibit was estimated by the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau to have had a $50 million to $60 million economic impact.
The kaleidoscopic colors of the art for which the artist has become so famous may also be experienced in a different light – at night when the Garden offers extended hours. One of the more stunning works this year is Saffron Tower, a 30-foot neon glass sculpture near the garden’s water mirror. Twenty-eight transformers power the neon sculpture.
There is even an installation at the Children’s Garden, which reopens later this summer.
Thanks to my trusty sidekick William who endured the heat and made me giggle throughout the day. Click HERE to get tickets to this spectacular exhibition which is on view through October 30, 2016.